If you’ve been reading my blog since we embarked on this adventure, you’ll probably remember that I wrote an entire series about packing back in February. Though I’m getting tired of my limited wardrobe choices, I’m happier than ever that we chose to bring as little as we did to China with us.
We like to travel light. We had originally hoped to leave the bulk of our luggage in Beijing while we travel through China then pick it up and fly home to Canada from there but as we began to plan our trip we realized that that wasn’t going to be an efficient use of time or money. Since we’re going to be picked up and have a driver at each destination along the way, hauling our luggage isn’t going to be as cumbersome as it would be if we had to handle it on our own but the checked baggage limit for each passenger on domestic flights in China is one piece weighing a maximum of 44 pounds. There are also rules pertaining to carry-on baggage but thankfully, the airlines are not strict about enforcing them and ours are likely to be heavier than they’re supposed to be!
Fortunately, though we’ve picked up a few mementoes and been given a few gifts, we were careful not to buy too much while we were here. Donating several of the books that we brought with us to the staff library at school and using up most of the medications and toiletries has given us space and weight for the few extra items that we’ll be taking home with us.
In addition to making sure that we meet the weight requirements, there are other challenges to packing at this end of the journey. Being somewhat anal, I like to be packed well in advance of any departure. At home, that’s easy to accomplish. Once the suitcases are packed, we simply wear clothing that we’re not taking with us. That leaves only a few last minute items to add to the suitcases just before we leave. That doesn’t work when everything you have is going with you though! I am planning on leaving a few badly worn items of clothing behind including a pair of pyjamas. Though it isn’t uncommon here to see adults walking the streets in what are obviously pyjamas, I’m not about to join them! No, a lot of our packing has to be done at the last minute this time. One suitcase is already fully packed with our winter wardrobe and other items that we won’t likely need as we travel but I won’t be able to finish packing the other one or the carry-ons until the morning we leave.
If we were flying straight home from here, I wouldn’t care if the suitcases were full of dirty laundry. In fact, they probably would be but since we’re going to be travelling for a couple of weeks, I want everything to be clean when we leave. Again, that’s more difficult to accomplish than it would be at home in Canada because we don’t have a clothes dryer here. I can’t do a load or two of laundry at the last minute unless I want to travel with wet clothes and just think what that would do to the weight of things!
Because we don’t have enough of the basics to last for the entire trip, I will have to do some hand washing in hotel sinks along the way but that’s not a problem. In fact, that’s one of the tricks to travelling light on any trip.